The Engineering Strong Ground Motion Network of the National Autonomous University of Mexico

Monday, 15 December 2014
Juan Manuel Velasco Miranda, Leonardo Ramirez-Guzman, Luis Alberto Aguilar Calderon, David Almora Mata, Mauricio Ayala Hernandez, Gerardo Castro Parra, Israel Molina Avila, Alejandro Mora Contreras, Miguel Torres Noguez and Ricardo Vazquez Larquet, UNAM National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico
The coverage, design, operation and monitoring capabilities of the strong ground motion program at the Institute of Engineering (IE) of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is presented. Started in 1952, the seismic instrumentation intended initially to bolster earthquake engineering projects in Mexico City has evolved into the largest strong ground motion monitoring system in the region. Today, it provides information not only to engineering projects, but also to the near real-time risk mitigation systems of the country, and enhances the general understanding of the effects and causes of earthquakes in Mexico.   The IE network includes more than 100 free-field stations and several buildings, covering the largest urban centers and zones of significant seismicity in Central Mexico. Of those stations, approximately one-fourth send the observed acceleration to a processing center in Mexico City continuously, and the rest require either periodic visits for the manual recovery of the data or remote interrogation, for later processing and cataloging. In this research, we document the procedures and telecommunications systems used systematically to recover information. Additionally, we analyze the spatial distribution of the free-field accelerographs, the quality of the instrumentation, and the recorded ground motions. The evaluation criteria are based on the: 1) uncertainty in the generation of ground motion parameter maps due to the spatial distribution of the stations, 2) potential of the array to provide localization and magnitude estimates for earthquakes with magnitudes greater than Mw 5, and 3) adequacy of the network for the development of Ground Motion Prediction Equations due to intra-plate and intra-slab earthquakes.   We conclude that the monitoring system requires a new redistribution, additional stations, and a substantial improvement in the instrumentation and telecommunications. Finally, we present an integral plan to improve the current network's monitoring capabilities.